Category Archives: contest

We have a winner!

Jill has read your entries and has picked her winner! And the person who will get a critique of her first 50 pages is…

Katie Newingham!

Here is Katie’s winning entry:

Some people say a radical is born in an instant, like a crime of passion, but for 18-year-old Dani Caldwell, her transformation begins the summer of 1958, when she meets a boy in pre-revolutionary Cuba.  She begins her journey as a girl troubled by her mother, fixed on career goals, and winds up a woman who must make hard decisions.  She’ll have to choose between the man she loves and her American ideals.  Lurking behind the scenes, a revolution that will test the bounds of their love, challenge their resiliency, and for Dani, change the very core of what she believes about her world. TLS is Havana Nights meets The Way We Were, in a Sue Miller-esque voice.

It had me intrigued, for sure. And Jill says she likes the concept! Congratulations, Katie! I’ll email you with the details on how to claim your prize.

Now, onto my picks! These three people will get a 35% discount on any services they wish to hire!

First, is the entry that got a special shout out from Jill, for “a really fun and original approach.”

Bad Decision #6 is a YA speculative novel, at 60,000 words. It’s a mash up of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Apocalypto with some weather manipulation.

Jane Benedict has a secret gift keeping her hidden underground from the government. She also has an inability to make the right decision. Will she ever learn?

·         Leaving safety for cannibals, Bad Decision #1.

·         Unleashing her gift to escape, Bad Decision #2.

·         Leaving Nico, her knight in a rotting wolf pelt, Bad Decision #3.

·         Encountering a tribe of natives looking to propagate the next empire, Bad Decision #4.

·         Confronting the Chief. That wins her, Bad Decision #5, almost without a head. 

·         Waking up after the auction on a cot with the government she was supposed to avoid, Bad Decision #6.

This is my first novel. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Congrats, Michele Rieppel! Your entry got a honorable mention from Jill! And for that reason, you’re the first to get a 35% discount on any of my services!

The other two people who will get the discount are…

Kate Larkindale, with her “American Pie meets The Sessions” pitch, and Scott Forman, who intrigued me with a heroine that is “Hermione Granger meets Melanie Stryder”.

Michele, Kate and Scott, I’ll also email you with the details on how to claim your prize!

Thanks for the fun entries, guys! And a big thank you to Jill Marr for being such an awesome judge!

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Second submission slot is open!

Second slot is open! If you missed the first slot for submissions, you may send your entry now. Second slot will last four hours, from 6 PM EDT until 10 PM EDT.

Here is how your entry should look like!

To: gabriela@gabrielalessaeditor.com

Subject: THIS MEETS THAT CONTEST – YOUR ENTRY TITLE

Body of the email: Your pitch (150 words max.), which should include your title, genre, main plot points and a comparison to a book, movie or TV show.

The comparison might be of the “this meets that” kind, or it might be “along the lines of this book,” or “similar in tone to this author.” The important thing is to have a comparison in there. ENTRIES THAT DO NOT INCLUDE A COMPARISON WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

Ready? Then send your submission! Remember, you must send it before 10 PM EDT.

If you miss both slots, make sure you check back tomorrow. If the entry cap is not reached today, I will reopen for submissions tomorrow!

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The “This Meets That” Contest is on!

It is on! The first slot for submissions is open and will last five hours. From now until 1 PM EDT, you can send your entry to gabriela@gabrielalessaeditor.com.

Here is how your entry should look!

To: gabriela@gabrielalessaeditor.com

Subject: THIS MEETS THAT CONTEST – YOUR ENTRY TITLE

Body of the email: Your pitch (150 words max.), which should include your title, genre, main plot points and a comparison to a book, movie or TV show.

The comparison might be of the “this meets that” kind, or it might be “along the lines of this book,” or “similar in tone to this author.” The important thing is to have a comparison in there. ENTRIES THAT DO NOT INCLUDE A COMPARISON WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

Ready? Then send your submission! Remember, you must send it before 1 PM EDT. If you miss that slot, you can wait for the next one, which will begin at 6 PM EDT.

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A few tips from another agent

I know writing a pitch can be hard, and I want you guys to have all the help you can get. Thinking about that, I reached out to a few agents who I noticed had “this meets that” comparisons in their recent deals. One of those agents was Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary, who recently sold a manuscript pitched as “Easy A meets Friday Night Lights”. Because she’s been so busy lately, Sarah was unable to be a guest judge at this contest. But she did provide some good advice to those writing pitches to impress Jill Marr. So here is a short interview with her.

GabrielaIt’s interesting that you mentioned the pitch came from the editor. Sometimes authors seem to think getting an agent is the end of the road! Could you explain a bit how the pitching process works (author to agent, agent to editor, editor to publisher, so on and so forth) and how important it is to have a strong pitch in each step of the way?

Sarah LaPolla – Getting an agent is definitely not the end of the road. It’s a very important step and should absolutely be something to be proud of, but it’s only the first step toward a traditional publishing deal. The importance of a strong pitch is important because it helps me know how to sell the book to a publisher. When I receive a great query – which is one that portrays the novel in an interesting way, tells me what the book is about, and shows that the author has a firm grasp on the market they’re writing for –  it gives me a solid foundation to write a pitch letter to an editor. Sometimes I even take the author’s own lines from their query to use in my pitch.

The next step of this is getting a publisher on board. That begins with getting an editor to want the book, and usually when this happens they send it to other editors for second reads to determine how much work needs to be done and whether it’s a good fit for them as a publisher. If the editor gets support, they bring it to their publisher, who will give them the go-ahead to make an offer on the book. There are many steps after getting an agent!

Gabriela – You said you often use this-meets-that pitches. Why? What is the benefit of crafting a pitch like that? What advice would you give to authors trying to write a this-meets-that pitch? What makes it work?

Sarah – Writing a “this-meets-that” pitch is a quick and easy way to create a specific image in a reader’s mind. I like when writers use them in their queries, but only if it the two things they are choosing accurately describe their book, and are different enough from each other to seem interesting. For example, you shouldn’t say a book is “Pride and Prejudice meets Bridget Jones” because Bridget Jones is already a retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

 

So there you have it, guys! That’s Sarah’s advice! Do you have any other questions about pitches before the contest is launched on Monday? Let me know and I’ll try to answer them!

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This Meets That Contest Rules

I know you’ve ben craving details for this awesome new pitch contest judged by awesome agent Jill Marr, so here is the info. (If you just got into this conversation, here is the post explaining a bit of the contest, and here is the interview with awesome judge Jill Marr.)

WHAT IS THIS CONTEST?

The This Meets That Contest is a pitch contest. That means you don’t submit pages, only your pitch. It’ll be judged by agent Jill Marr. This contest is about using comparisons in your pitch. So you have to come up with a pitch that has a comparison in it (more on this below).

WHO CAN ENTER?

Anyone who has a finished manuscript or a WIP can enter (although finished manuscripts are much preferred). We’ll accept all genres, but of course, genres Jill represents are more likely to catch her eye. You should refer to the interview with Jill to see what she’s interested in.

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

1st place will win a critique of 50 pages from agent Jill Marr!

Amongst the others, I will choose my top three, and those people will get a 35% discount on any editing services they wish to hire! (For a list of my editing services and prices, go to Editing and Consulting.)

Jill may also request partials or fulls for the pitches she likes. So even if you don’t win first prize, you might still get a request!

WHAT SHOULD MY ENTRY BE?

Your entry should be a pitch (150 words max.) that includes a comparison. It must introduce your plot. It must state your genre. It must be under 150 words long. It must contain a comparison. Those are the rules.

What sort of comparison? It can be a “this meets that” kind of thing, like “Princess Diaries meets Sex and the City” (okay, that sounds odd); or it can be a simpler comparison, like “it’s similar in tone to Jonathan Tropper’s work” or “would appeal to Harry Potter fans” (although you should try to be a bit more original than that). The point is to present your manuscript and use a comparison to published books, movies or TV shows to help the agent understand your story. Of course, you shouldn’t have just the comparison. You have 150 words, use them to introduce your manuscript, like you would in a query. Just make sure there’s a comparison somewhere in that.

Oh, and the personalization part of the query, or the part about your bio, can be cut. For a pitch, focus on the story. Think of it as an elevator pitch.

WHEN DO I ENTER?

Next Monday, September 2nd. Jill is a very busy lady, so, unfortunately, she will only read 20 entries. That is why I’ll open two submission slots, and will accept the first ten I get on each of them. Slot one will be on Monday, Sept. 2nd, from 8 am to 1 pm US Eastern Time. Slot two will be on Monday, September 2nd, from 6pm to 10 pm US Eastern Time. The first ten entries received on the each time slot will be in. If we don’t reach 10 entries on Monday, I’ll open extra slots on Tuesday. DON’T SEND YOU ENTRY OUTSIDE THOSE SLOTS! ONLY ENTRIES SENT WITHIN THOSE PERIODS WILL BE CONSIDERED.

HOW DO I ENTER?

  1. Subscribe to the website on the sidebar widget here.
  2. Wait for the submission slots.
  3. When we’re open for submissions, send it to gabriela@gabrielalessaeditor.com formatted like this:

Subject Line: THIS MEETS THAT CONTEST – YOUR ENTRY TITLE

Body of the email: A pitch of 150 words or less, that describes your manuscript and includes an original comparison.

Easy, right? If you have questions, fire away in the comments. I’m excited about this one!

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The “This Meets That” Contest

You might remember that, a while ago, back on the old website, I mentioned this very cool contest with a very cool judge. Well, the new website is up, the very cool judge has opened a slot on her schedule just for us and the contest is happening!!!

So here is what this is. We talk a lot about queries here. And comparisons are often important in queries. Why? Because the point of your query is to show the agent what your manuscript is like. And comparisons are exactly that: my novel is like this, with a little dash of that. When well done, they paint a good picture. That’s why they’re often used by agents when pitching manuscripts to editors, and that’s why they’re often the thing that catches an agent’s eye in a query.

But we’ve all heard the horror stories. We see on Twitter all the times, agents saying “please stop comparing your novel to that,” or “NEVER say you’re the next J.K. Rowling!” So, how do you use comparison without scaring the agent away?

Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll post tips on how to do just that. And in September…*drumroll*…we’ll have a contest judged by the very awesome agent   Jill Marr of the Sandra Djikstra Literary Agency! You will get to send Jill your pitch (including a very awesome comparison, of course) and she’ll choose what to request!

Details on the contest will come soon. But here’s what you can start doing NOW: to enter the contest, you must subscribe to the new website using the button on the toolbar on the right (well, it’s a new website, and I want followers!). But do it quick! Because the first 15 people who subscribe to the new website get a comment from me on their contest entries BEFORE they’re entered in the contest! (Mind you, not and edit or a rewrite, just a comment, ok?) Jill will not know who got comments from me and those people will be given no unfair advantages, of course. But a fresh perspective is always good, right? So subscribe now!

More tips, details and opportunities to win great prizes are coming soon. For now, subscribe so you can know when the good stuff is coming! And start thinking about that pitch!

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